Arts » Comedy

Kyle Kinane's mad genius



Between hosting a web series on political commercials and voice work for the pilot for an upcoming Comedy Central animated series with Larry David, native Midwesterner and stand-up comedian Kyle Kinane has had a busy year. Kinane’s stock started to rise with the release of his 2010 album “Death of the Party” and it’s only gotten hotter as his trademark blend of resigned world-weariness and sidesplitting attention to detail have earned him fans across the country and the Web. Before his show at Crackers Downtown next week, he took the time to talk with NUVO about writing jokes, dealing with Internet trolls, and enjoying life despite itself.

NUVO: You’ve performed in Indianapolis before at the Sinking Ship, right? What did you think of that room?

Kyle Kinane: I love the Sinking Ship. My kind of bar, my kind of crowd.

(Editor's note: The Sinking Ship has free comedy every Sunday. For more information, click!)

NUVO: Do you like performing in cities in the Midwest?

Kinane: I'm from Illinois, just outside of Chicago. I love the Midwest. I think we invented cynical optimism. You deal with life's shit, and when something good happens, you feel pleasantly surprised.

NUVO: Your career has been helped a lot by podcasts, Twitter, and Tumblr. How do you manage your online presence and why is it important for comedians to understand the Internet?

Kinane: It's all just more audience. There's an online audience. It's not about understanding the internet as much as it is recognizing that there's a lot of comedy fans who find out about new artists from YouTube and Twitter, etc. The web leveled the playing field that was previously dominated by television. [Marc] Maron's [podcast] “WTF” is getting more interesting guests than some of the late night talk shows.

NUVO: What have you learned from experiences like Twitter’s reaction to your commentary on the Daniel Tosh Rape Joke Incident?

Kinane: As far as dealing with trolls and the lonely small people who revel in the anonymity and lack of accountability that's found online—the web is a great tool that unfortunately also happens to be a coward's wet dream. With the Tosh ordeal, people were so quick to choose sides based on loosely gathered third party information online, and that's irresponsible. Nobody except for Tosh and the people at the Laugh Factory know what happened in that room, yet blogs restated blogs restated blogs about the "facts" of what happened. People took sides based on what they heard at the end of a game of telephone. But that's the world we live in now.

NUVO: Your humor comes at the world from a very specific orientation. How did you develop your on-stage voice in order to bring audience members into your world?

Kinane: I think anytime you try to make a career from simply expressing yourself (music, art, comedy, or what have you), you're going to get more and more comfortable with who your are and how much you're willing to share with an audience. My voice developed because of time. I've been doing standup since 1999. I don't know how it brings people into my world. Maybe I'm not as big of an asshole as I think I am. Unlikely, but maybe.

NUVO: Despite your idiosyncratic sense of humor, you comment on a lot of big issues that are on others’ minds. Do you have criteria for determining whether or not something ridiculous is worth your time? Or is that impractical?

Kinane: I talk about what's interesting to me, what I'm going through in my life. It's a bit of bar bullshittery, a bit of therapy. I started viewing every experience as: "Can this be translated into something for the act?" All that did was cause me to miss out on the experience itself, and some genuine feelings. Now I try to engage in everything with optimism and an open-mind, and after that I try to mine it for humor. Of course sometimes some hilarious stuff happens and you've got to talk about it.

NUVO: Do you think everything has the potential for humor if it’s told the right way at the right time?


Max Cothrel is a comedian, writer and editor of Sphere Magazine.

"Believing in Yourself" - Kyle Kinane


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